Q&A with Karen Kennelly, 2014 Chair of the Family Committee

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Karen Kennelly answers some questions about chairing the 2014 Family Committee. If you are interested in joining the Family Committee or one of the other Focus Area Committees for 2014 (Environment, Health and Wellness, Education, and Arts and Culture), please contact Andi Cohen at joinus@impact100indy.org.

Family Committee Chair: Karen A. Kennelly Email address: kk5565@gmail.com Meeting Location: Somerset CPAs office, 3925 River Crossing Pkwy #300 (behind Keystone at the Crossing) Meeting Dates and Times:

  • Monday, January 27, noon – 1pm:  orientation
  • Monday, February, 11am – 1pm:  LOI review
  • Monday, March 24, 11am – 1pm:  Full application review
  • Week of April 21:  site visits


Question:This is your first year chairing the Family Focus Area Committee (you were President of Impact 100 the last two years). What are you most looking forward to about chairing the Family committee?

Karen: While I truly enjoyed leading such an incredible group of women and it was genuinely an honor to be the individual representing our esteemed membership, I am really looking forward to being able to focus effort on what I think is the most important part of Impact 100 – selecting the most deserving organizations to which we will give our funds.

Question:What is your favorite memory from your tenure as Impact 100 president?

Karen: I really enjoyed being able to announce the winner of the grant each year – it’s such an exciting moment that has culminated from so much hard work.

Question:What has been most surprising or interesting about being president of Impact 100?

Karen: The one thing that surprised me the most was the inconsistency with which we were a known organization in the community.  Only about a third of the time that I mentioned Impact 100 did the person I was talking to know who and what we are.  I’d really like that to change – we, as members, need to talk more about who we are and what we are doing – the difference we are making!

Question: How have your experiences at Impact 100 informed or changed your views about the non-profit and philanthropic communities in Indianapolis?

Karen: I have gotten to know more about what incredible opportunities there are to give to and support the nonprofit community in Indianapolis.  This creates a challenge for Impact 100 in recruiting new members because there are so many worthy ways people are able give, but it’s a wonderful testament to the philanthropic spirit of our community.

Question:What brought you to Impact 100?

Karen: I was initially recruited by someone I worked with at KSM that was a member (Karen Mersereau), although she was recruiting me to assist the organization in its first year, versus to be a member.   Karen connected me to Donna Oklak, who was looking for assistance in establishing a way to financially evaluate the grant applications.  So I did a review of all of the finalist applications and put together an analysis.  I went to the dinner and got to experience the excitement of handing out over $100,000 to a deserving organization.  I stayed in touch over the following year and then FINALLY became a member (and right away joined the board and became the Treasurer) in 2008.

Question:You’ve had a number of different “jobs” at Impact 100.  Can you tell us what else you’ve done at Impact?

Karen: I served as Treasurer for several years and it was “fun” putting the financial reports in a format that made them understandable to the board!  I’ve served on several FACs, where I’ve loved being at the heart of our organization reviewing the grants.  As President, it was gratifying to lead such an incredible group of women striving every day to make a true difference in the world.

Question:What do you love about Impact 100?

Karen: I have become familiar with so many incredible organizations that I didn’t even know existed. We have such a strong nonprofit community here and it is wonderful to see so many passionate people hard at work making a difference.  I’ve been involved in nonprofit organizations professionally for over 25 years and, yet, every year I find out about incredible organizations that I had never heard of previously.

Question:What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming an Impact 100 member?

Karen: If you become a member, I highly recommend getting involved in a Focus Area Committee.  You learn so much in the process about our nonprofit community and meet some incredible ladies along the way.

If you are hesitating, consider becoming a member with a friend – not only does that reduce the cost to you, but you also have a new reason to spend more time with that friend while meeting others!

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